Tourism trouble. On researching and caring for messy tourism
Carina Ren, Associate professor, The Tourism Research Unit at Aalborg University.
As proposed under the heading of this conference, tourism is a phenomenon and activity impregnated with challenges, dilemmas and controversies. It is a messy object, which leads itself poorly to easy solutions and quick fixes. Tourism is complex, unruly and not always easily cared for. The growing work within relational and material semiotic studies in tourism has enabled us to think anew about tourism as entangled into our everyday lives and the social.It has also shown us that tourism is enacted through and with non-human actors of all sorts on a planetary scale. As argued by Donna Haraway we as critters are in this world together. This entails the necessity to ‘stay with the trouble’ and hereby to work together to craft liveable, albeit frictious ways of cohabitation.
But the question is how we as researchers can ‘stay with the trouble’ in tourism. In this talk, I will propose different strategies for researching tourism trouble as we stand confronted with the messy object of tourism. What characterizes these efforts is their use of critical proximity rather than critical distance as a tool for world making and for mattering. The hope is that such ways of knowing tourism in modest, tinkering and often collaborative ways can carve out new trajectories for tourism scholars to study and engage with tourism with a new criticality of care.
Carina Ren is ethnologist and researches how tourism interferes with other fields of the social through cultural innovation and explores new ways in which tourism is developed, organised and valued. Through ethnographic, design and digital approaches, she explores different practices and processes of cultural innovation, the performance of branding and value-creation through events. Her research often takes place in research collaborations with tourism organisations and industry, communities and students. She is the co-editor of Actor-Network Theory and Tourism (2012), Tourism Encounters and Controversies. Ontological Politics of Tourism Development (2015) and recently Co-Creating Tourism research. Towards Collaborative ways of Knowing (2017).